ICE CO. SPOTLIGHT

The Spotlight will highlight topics spanning industry news, safety, product and equipment reviews, codes and much more! We look forward to a dialogue with you.

Light Up Your Holidays Safely

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Light Up Your Holidays Safely
 

Light up safely over the holidays:

  • Choose the right light for the job: light strings and other decorations are rated for indoor or outdoor use. Read the package instructions, and never exceed the recommended wattage.
  • Replace damaged electrical products (cords, plugs, ornaments).
  • Avoid plugging too many lights and decorations into an outlet. Overloaded circuits can overheat and start a fire. 
  • Use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) outlets when plugging in outdoors
  • Buy holiday decorations that have the mark of an accredited certification agency on the package. 
  • Once the package is opened, remember to check for the appropriate approval sticker appearing on the cord for products incorporating light strings. 

Extension Cords/Plugs:

  • Avoid overloading circuits with plugs and extension cords—this can create overheating and result in a fire. Fuses that frequently blow and circuits that trip can indicate too many items are connected to the circuit.
  • Never remove the third prong on plugs—this "grounding pin" prevents shock in the event of electrical equipment failure.
  • Plug outdoor electrical decorations into Ground Fault (GFCI)-protected outlets.
  • Don't run extension cords under carpets, through doorways, or in places where they can be damaged by furniture 
  • Keep outdoor connections above-ground and out of puddles; don't run them across driveways and/or walkways.

Installing Decorations:

  • No more than three light strings can be safely connected together in most cases—read manufactures instructions for directions. 
  • Make sure bulbs don't touch supply cords, wires, cloth, paper, or any material that's not part of the light string.
  • Use the proper clips for securing lights and decorations. Staples and nails can damage electrical cords.
  • Check for overhead power lines before using a ladder to put up decorations, or when you're hanging lights or decorations on trees.
  • Holiday decorations aren't designed for year-round use and can deteriorate over time. Take them down when the holidays are over.

Remember to:

  • Watch that children don’t put electrical decorations or cords in their mouths.
  • Keep an eye on pets that may chew or damage electrical cords.
  • Turn off holiday lights and decorations when you leave the house or go to bed.

Energy Efficiency Month

Friday, October 09, 2015

October means football season, pumpkin lattes, Halloween costumes and many other fun seasonal changes. In September 1991, President George Bush declared October as National Energy Awareness Month, encouraging government and organizations to raise awareness of the importance of sustainably managing the nation’s energy resources.

Recognizing the significance of the energy-water nexus, the Department of Energy has chosen to dedicate this year’s campaign to promoting both energy and water conservation. As we recently discussed on our blog, energy and water are highly connected and there is ample opportunity to reduce waste of both resources.

Energy Efficiency Tips for Fall

During the fall, cold temperatures cause electricity bills to increase due to continuous use of heating systems, which account for 42 percent of residential energy use. It can be tempting to turn up the heat as temperatures drop, but consumption can be minimized by ensuring HVAC systems are properly maintained. Dirty filters can slow air flow, making the system work harder, wasting more energy. Air leaks and improper insulation can be another major source of heat loss. Consumers can reduce heating bills 20 percent by checking air leaks around walls, ceilings, windows, doors, fixtures, switches and electrical outlets.


Get Prepared for Fall

Thursday, September 17, 2015

It may be only September, but the leaves are changing here in Oregon. This has me thinking about all the things I need to do around the house to get ready before the cold weather settles in. Even if in your neck of the woods, you are still enjoying warm sunny weather (lucky you), you'll benefit from preparing for the winter weather that is only a few months away.

                      

1. Clean Out the Gutters

All the leaves and grime that you neglected while you were out swimming, hiking, or riding your bicycle this summer have built up in your gutters. If left full of debris, clogged gutters and drains can form ice dams that prevent your drainage systems from working properly. This can lead to water seeping into your home, which can lead to all sorts of issues and extra energy costs. Save yourself the hassle of repairing a leak by simply cleaning your gutters and drains now. When you do, run water through the gutters to check for misalignments that could also cause water damage.

2. Keep the Outside Air Out and the Inside Air In

Warm air will escape out of any cracks and can make your heating system work harder and cost you more to heat your home.  Use caulk to seal cracks and openings between stationary house components like a door frame and weather stripping to seal components that move like an operable window.

3. Show Some TLC to Your Furnace

Your furnace may be a distant memory since you last powered it on, but before the cold weather descends and you must reluctantly switch it on, give it some TLC. Clean your furnace annually each autumn. Sediment build-up can cause your system to work less efficiently or potentially become a fire-hazard. Cleaning your system and getting it inspected will reduce the risks.

During the winter try to change your filter regularly; a dirty filter will decrease air flow and energy-efficiency. And if your furnace is ready to be replaced, buy an energy-efficient model. It will save you money and energy each month!

4. Get Your Ducts in a Row

Your ducts are often times out of sight, out of mind, tucked away in the attic or basement, but a home with central heating can lose about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system. Make sure your ducts are in order by properly sealing and insulating them. Tightly sealed and insulated ducts can potentially reduce your annual energy bills by $120 or more! 


Why You Need an Electrician

Friday, August 14, 2015

Electrical contractors are crucial to any new build of commercial or residential premises. They can also be incredibly helpful when looking to renovate an existing building, where your expertise is not that skilled. You may feel that you are capable of performing smaller tasks, but where electrics are concerned it is far better being safe than sorry.

Electricians are trained professionals who understand how dangerous the work can be, and how important it is to stick to the strict guidelines. When you are performing any work within your home that involves electrics, you need to consider if you should hire electrical contractors. There are smaller tasks that you may be able to perform with confidence; however, larger jobs may need an expert.

Many people try to do an electrician’s job themselves, which will often lead to problems further down the line. Therefore, making the decision early on in the project to hire contractors will save you both time and money. If you have found that you are in too deep and do not understand what you are doing, you need to hire a professional electrician. They will be able to notify you of the problem and instruct you how to make it better.

Hiring the professionals to carry out the electrical work within your home or business will ensure that everything is done safely. Electricians will be able to install all electrical components around your home. Plugins, ceiling fans, security lighting, light switches and wiring in appliances can all be done with ease. You will be surprised how easy the electricians will make it look; however, they are trained to do their job.

There are many common issues and problems with the wiring in homes all over the world, and typically these issues have arisen from the wrong people performing the tasks. By hiring qualified and experienced electricians, you will be guaranteeing that your home is safe. They will be able to rectify any existing issues, and ensure that all new work is carried out in the correct manner.

 

If you have been having problems for a while, they will source the issue and fix it correctly. Performing jobs around your home and business may seem like a good idea, and you may think that you are saving money, but you should call an electrician the moment that you begin to find problems with the wiring in your home.


Fall And Winter Savings

Thursday, September 25, 2014
Fall is approaching quickly, and winter will be here before we know it. And we all know keeping your house warm in those cold months can be quite costly, so we came up with some ways to keep you warm, and your wallet happy.

Winterize your windows! Sounds expensive right? Wrong. Purchase a window insulator kit. The entire kit is a plastic sheet with a window safe tape on one side. They usually cost anywhere from 5-20 dollars and that covers multiple windows. Just stick on the plastic on the inside of your window and apply heat (a hairdryer works best). Depending on how thin your windows are, you can apply two sheets. Just remove in the spring!

Reverse your ceiling fan! We usually use our ceiling fans in the summer, but this winter, use your fan to keep the heat from rising. On most fans, there is a small switch on the fan to reverse the direction in which the blades are rotating. Turn the fan on the lowest setting to reduce the feeling of the air movement.  And just remember, clockwise in winter, counterclockwise in summer.

Make sure your furnace works! Turn your furnace on just to double check it still works before winter hits and your furnace-less. It may smell a little dusty but the smell shouldn’t last long. If it does, call a professional. A dirty furnace filter will cause a slight air shortage causing you to spend more money and get less heat. It’s a good idea to get a new filter annually so you can get all the heat you can.

Bake! Use your oven. After you are done with dinner, cookies, whatever, crack your oven. Especially if your house is smaller, you will definitely feel a difference in temperature.  That oven gets hot so put that heat to good use. Other than baking cookies that is!

Turn the heat down! No, don’t turn it off. Burrrr! But, why heat your house when you’re either gone or asleep most the day anyways?  Turn it down to 60 when you’re at work, 60 when you go to bed and save about 10% this winter while doing so. If that is too chilly, invest in a down comforter, fleece sheets and, use a space heater. Keep your bedroom doors open to get the heat from other parts of the house, and close the vents in rooms you rarely go in so that heat goes into your room.


Summer Ready

Thursday, May 15, 2014

June 21, 2014

Marks the first day of summer. 

Are you ready?

With summer comes warmer weather. It's a really good idea to start checking around your house now to make sure it's ready for the upcoming weather changes.


"If your air conditioner needs replacement do it BEFORE the HOT WEATHER HITS because heating & air conditioning repair people will be very busy. And more than likely, some other things around your home need attention as well. Your air ducts may need testing for leaks and then sealed. 


It's a good idea to invest in a programmable thermostat. You can program it to whatever temperature you want at whatever time. Also, if you go out of town, it's best to leave it up around 78 so that you can save money. 

 

If your thermostat is really old and uses a mercury switch (a glass tube filed with silvery substance) call your local public works department to find out how to dispose of this toxic material.Consider installing a whole-house fan that uses cool air in the evening to cool the entire house and push hot air out of the attic area." -Consumer Energy Center 

(click the link to read more on What To Do Before it Gets Too Hott!)


Energy-Saving Tips

Thursday, February 20, 2014
Saving energy saves you more than money. Saving money is a good reason to save energy, but another good reason is because it helps to protect our environment and our future generations!




These seven tips are brought to you by Technology Green Energy Blogspot! Check out their blog here for more great ideas from them!





Washing your clothes in cold water will still get your clothes just as clean! There is no need to waste energy on washing your clothes with really hot water. 


In the winter, pull back your drapes and use the suns energy to help warm up your home. You will be surprised how much it actually helps!


Click here to navigate to Energy Star Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator! Find out much you are spending to operate your fridge and/or freezer! 


Want even more energy saving tips? Energy Star has a tool that allows you to pick any room in your house and each room is filled with tips. 



Power Outage Preparation

Thursday, February 13, 2014

POWER//OUTAGES//BLACKOUTS//BE PREPARED!


What would happen if a power outage happened in your home or office RIGHT NOW? 


Would you be prepared? Or far from it?





Not only can a power outage damage your electronics and/or household items, it can be a horrible inconvenience if you are ill-prepared. 


It is best if you can formulate a plan for your home as if a two week outage is about to happen. 


Similar to house fires and natural disasters, a power outage will come when you're least expecting it. If you are already prepared for it, you won't have to panic!




Of course the first thing you think of needing are lights, of course! What about food? Heat? etc. 


To take care of the lights, it is great to have flashlights, glow sticks for the kids (it will help entertain them as well), and a lantern on hand at all times. 


Solar lights would be very ideal as well. Candles can be used as well, but make sure to blow them out before you fall asleep at night!




If you know an outage is possible, fill up your tank! You never know how bad it could get and if you need to flee, it may be hard to get gas with everyone else in the same area trying to do the same thing.


Be prepared to cook outside. You should have plenty of charcoal available. Never bring your grill inside though! Make sure to stock up on enough perishable food items that can be eaten easily with no preparation. 




Think about your pets as well! Stock up on extra food for them. 

Essential items:

  • Cooler with ice
  • WATER! Plenty of if too!
  • Battery operated radio for up to date information
  • Fresh batteries
  • Propane for grill
  • Extra gasoline for the generator
  • First aid kit
  • Matches
  • Paper goods


Click here to read ,"Power’s Out: 5 Tips for a Safe Fridge & Freezer"


Of course there are so many other things to be extra prepared! Click here for extra tips and a great article on preparing for a power outage. 


Also, make sure your pipes are in good condition. If they aren't, you might want to think about replacing them before it's too late. 


Keeping you safe and informed is our ultimate goal!


Until Next Time,

Your ICE Co Team!


 


Winter Savings

Wednesday, January 29, 2014




Winter is in and Fall is out!!


It's that time of year again. In the past few weeks, you have probably noticed a change in the amount of your electric and/or gas bill, and it's probably due to the amount of heater usage. 


Electricity can be very expensive, but saving can be quiet simple!




You may be wasting your heat! It is important to check around your home to be sure it is not escaping under doors or through cracks. You could be wasting some in many minor areas that have been overlooked. 


There are many things you can do around your house to help those skyrocketing energy bills. Many are easy to overlook, so we wanted to break it down for you.




It is important to regularly check the insulation in your home. Close to 50% of household energy usage is from heating, so you want it to keep in as much heat as possible. 


If your windows are letting out heat, without completely replacing them, you may need to seal the windows. Temporary fix items can be found at your local hardware store. Click here for more options to insulate your windows. 




A simple and free solution to get the most out of your heating, is to keep any unused room doors shut. Also turn off the vent in that room as well. No need to waste heat on any empty space!


Also, always remember to turn down the heat when you are out of town or away from the house. There is no need to continuously run it. If you have a programmable thermostat this can make it even easier!




There are many ways to save this season! Global Energy Efficiency has a great info-graphic with tons of great information. Click here to check it out!




Keeping you warm and informed is our number one goal!

Until Next Time,

Your ICE Co Team!



The Incandescent Light bulb Phase Out

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Last week’s blog discussed LED energy efficient bulbs and the cash savings and benefits from purchasing them. This week we are going to discuss what has happened on January 1, 2014, that will change the way you buy your light bulbs. 


Many people love the fact that they can buy a light bulb for only $0.99. Surprisingly though, that cheap light bulb will cost you around $7.00 a year to burn!


The new bulbs that you will have to buy will be more expensive than $0.99, but will only cost around $1.00 a year to burn. That means you will save $6.00 a year per bulb. In the end, your energy efficient light will pay for itself.


 


You will now have three choices when buying light bulbs. The three choices are limited to LED, Halogen, and CFL’s. 

 


Pcmag.com describes each bulb and their attributes.

“Halogen bulbs act most like incandescent bulbs, and have very similar energy profiles. A halogen bulb will last only about 1,000 hours and consume approximately 43 watts for the equivalent of a 60-watt incandescent light. They're the least expensive of the non-incandescent light bulbs, available for approximately $1.25 per bulb. Their per-bulb economy has a trade-off of energy economy, as they use over two-thirds as much energy as incandescent bulbs.”



“CFL bulbs offer a great combination of efficiency and economy, but they have their own drawbacks. CFL bulbs are available for about $2, can last 10,000 hours, and consume 13 watts for the equivalent of a 60-watt incandescent bulb. However, fluorescent light is much cooler than incandescent or halogen light, making it appear more blue than white to eyes used to the warm, orange-tinted light of incandescent bulbs. Many users simply dislike how CFLs look. CFL bulbs are also the hardest to dispose of safely, as most contain a trace of mercury and must be recycled at a proper facility.”



“LED bulbs are the most expensive up front, but offer the most efficiency in the long term. They can cost between $12 and $50 each, but they can last 25,000 hours and consume 10 watts for the equivalent of a 60-watt incandescent bulb. LED bulbs can have adjustable colors, and don't have any toxic chemicals that need to be disposed of safely.


In the long run, LED bulbs are the superior choice, but they're going to remain the most expensive one because of the numerous electronic components used in each bulb. According to Mertz, LED bulbs might reach a low price of $4 to $6, but they simply won't dip below that or anywhere near the price of halogen or CFL bulbs because of the cost of the parts. “


Of course, you can still buy the incandescent bulbs until they run out at your local hardware store. 

There is a lot of controversy over the phase-out, but if you look over the facts, you can end up saving a lot of money.


Click here for more information similar to this chart.

Source - Pcmag






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